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Victim is not a necessary party to a criminal appeal from conviction for offences against women or child under POCSO or other statutes.

Recently, in the case of Ganesh Das v. State, the High Court of Calcutta, the legal rights, eligibility and interest of a victim, in the course of an appeal against conviction would stand satisfied if the state carries our diligently and vigilantly its role in criminal cases and the Public Prosecutors discharging their duties and responsibilities due from them in terms of the provisions of Cr.P.C. and other applicable laws.

According to the facts of the case, the appellant was held guilty and convicted for offence punishable under Section 376(3) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 6 of the POCSO Act. He was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 20 years and to pay fine of Rs. 10,000/- and in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year for the offence punishable under Section 376(3) of I.P.C. It was directed that the victim is entitled to get the said fine amount of Rs. 10,000/- if realized, in view of the second proviso to Section 357 of Cr.P.C. The issue came up that the appeal would be defective as the victim has not been party in this application.

The court held that the victim is not a necessary party to a Criminal Appeal from conviction for offences against woman or child, punishable under provisions of the I.P.C. or POCSO Act or any other penal provision which will apply in relation to offences affecting human body against any “woman” and/or “child”, both those expressions being understood in the context of the respective legislation which deals with such offences.

Also, the procedure to be adopted in all such appeals would be to deal with those appeals without insisting on the impleadment of the victim. In cases where, over and above the assistance of the Public Prosecutor representing the State, the appellate court deems it necessary to provide further assistance to secure the interest of the victim through legal aid, the HCLSC or the DLSA concerned may be required to provide assistance through an empanelled or other advocate as may be decided by the HCLSC or the DLSA concerned. However, even in such cases, it shall be insisted by the Court that the principles relating to protection of dignity and privacy and modality of ensuring those values, as delineated above, are scrupulously adhered to.

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